Higher classification Scilloideae
Scientific name Scilla
|Lower classifications Scilla siberica, Scilla bifolia, Scilla peruviana, Scilla hyacinthoides|
Scilla (/ˈsɪlə/; Squill) is a genus of about 50 to 80 bulb-forming perennial herbs in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Scilloideae, native to woodlands, subalpine meadows, and seashores throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle-East. A few species are also naturalized in Australia, New Zealand and North America. Their flowers are usually blue, but white, pink, and purple types are known; most flower in early spring, but a few are autumn-flowering.
- Plant blue campanulata scilla bulbs early spring blue bells
- Formerly included
- Scilla peruviana
- Cultivation and uses
Plant blue campanulata scilla bulbs early spring blue bells
Scilla has most recently been classified as belonging to the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Scilloideae; the subfamily was formerly treated as a separate family, Hyacinthaceae. Prior to that it was placed in the Hyacintheae tribe of the Liliaceae family.
The precise number of Scilla species in the genus depends on which proposals to split the genus are accepted. For a discussion of the relationship of Scilla to the closely related genus, Chionodoxa, see that page. Other proposals separate particularly the Eurasian species into a number of smaller genera such as Othocallis Salisb., e.g. Scilla siberica would become Othocallis siberica.
Several African species previously classified in Scilla have been removed to the genus Ledebouria. The best known of these is the common houseplant still sometimes known as Scilla violacea but now properly Ledebouria socialis.
As of November 2011, the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families accepts 81 species:
Scilla peruviana is of interest for its name; it is a native of southwest Europe, not of Peru. When Carl Linnaeus described the species in 1753, he was given specimens imported from Spain aboard a ship named Peru, and was misled into thinking the specimens had come from that country. The rules of botanical naming do not allow a scientific name to be changed merely because it is potentially confusing.
Cultivation and uses
Many species, notably S. siberica, are grown in gardens for their attractive early spring flowers.